Corporal Ronil Singh, 33, pulled over the suspect just before 1 am on Wednesday and a few moments later he called out "shot fired" over the radio.
His spokesman said on Friday that if the suspect was a known gang member, police could have provided that information to federal authorities. He discharged his gun while trying to defend himself. Officials said Singh was a native of Fiji, who legally immigrated to the United States and achieved his dream of being a police officer. He also noted that the suspect had been in the country for a number of years and was seeking to cross back into Mexico before the shooting occurred. He doesn't belong here.
"While we absolutely need to stay focused on Officer Singh's service and sacrifice, we can't ignore the fact that this could've been preventable", Christianson said. The suspect is now being sought by authorities. They conducted a search of the mobile home where the truck was found parked, but the suspect eluded them. His profile picture shows him smiling as he stands at a patrol auto with his police dog - the same photograph of the officer released by the Sheriff's Department.
The sheriff's office did not respond when Newsweek asked whether the suspect had previously committed crimes.
Suspected Cop Killer Arrested After Two-Day Manhunt
Officer Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department, California, is pictured in this undated photo released by Merced Police Department.
His wife, holding their five-month-old baby, stood with family while the community gathered in support.
Singh, a 33-year-old with a newborn son, was an "American patriot", the chief said.
On Friday, heavily armed police officers surrounded the Bakersfield home where they believed Arriaga was hiding and he walked out with his hands up, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters.
Gov. Jerry Brown has said the law strikes a balance between protecting families and ensuring consequences for serious criminals.
The president tweeted about the killing shortly after the press conference on Thursday.
After a two-day manhunt, California authorities say they have tracked down a man they suspect killed a small-town police officer during a traffic stop the day after Christmas.
President Donald Trump, who is using the ongoing shutdown of the federal government as leverage to obtain funding for his proposed border wall, cited Singh's death on Thursday to bolster his argument.
Right-wing commentators used the killing to rail against illegal immigration.
English was Singh's third language and he had a thick accent but took speech classes to improve his communication, the chief said.